Fair Game About The Game

| Haarlem, The Netherlands | Working | December 30, 2013

(We are family of three geeks, two of us over 40 and one nine-year-old. We don’t have much money, so we’re a bit technically behind the times. I set out to find a good Christmas present for our young one and turn up an inexpensive used Playstation 2. It comes with over 100 games, many that we don’t want. I take these downtown to the big games shop.)

Me: “Hi. I’d like to see what kind of trade-in value I can get for these?”

Employee: “Sure!”

Me: “I also have two store cards, one for me and one for my partner. I’d like to ask if the points from one could be transferred to the other to consolidate them, enabling us to throw one card away?”

(The employee puts the cards in front of the cash register. He stares at them, and starts to sweat a little, showing obvious signs of panic. This reeks to me of ‘new hire’, maybe even ‘first day’ material.)

Employee: “I’m sorry. I don’t remember how to do that. Please give me a moment to look that up.”

Me: “No problem. Absolutely.”

(The employee whips out a book and looks increasingly stressed as he studies several pages of literature. He gives me a helpless, encouraging smile. Then he turns around to the manager and asks him how to do it.)

Manager: “I’ll show you in a few minutes. Would you help these people?”

(The manager and employee switch places. The manager quickly fuses the cards. Then he glances in the direction of the games.)

Manager: “Playstation 2 games would fetch you maybe 20 cents each if I do them there. I would try an online classifieds site.”

(I nod, and put them back in the bag.)

Manager: “Or maybe [New Competitor] would want them.”

(The manager proceeds to give me directions. I have always loved the service at this store, and obviously this day is no different. I go back to thank the new employee before I leave. I head out into the chaos of the Christmas market and fight my way towards the other store, in the tiny, narrow street behind the immensely crowded square. The guy there was the owner and sole employee of a tiny hole-in-the-wall used-game shop that I love immediately.)

Owner: “For that pile of games, I can give you about €8.”

Me: “Great! Maybe I could trade them for something for my son as a Christmas present?”

(I look around and find two little Pokémon collectible stuffed animals.)

Me: “What is the price for these?”

Owner: “€5 each, but screw the extra €2. I could trade the games for those. Sweet.”

(These three people turned a jaunt that was already turning into a nightmare into a pleasant experience. Merry Christmas to them!)

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